Monday, December 16, 2013

More Hot Type to Savor with the Arrival of the Monotype Composition Caster

MORE HOT METAL ACTION IS TAKING SHAPE now at the Tampa Book Arts Studio! The turn-of-the-century typecasting marvel—and the gold standard for fine printing and book composition in its day—the Monotype Composition Caster has arrived at the Tampa Book Arts Studio! It’s taken its place in the Studio’s hot-type “foundry corner” to join with its typecasting kin, the Intertype, the Ludlow, and the Monotype “Orphan Annie” caster.

TBAS Director Richard Mathews and Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi
 stand with the newly unwrapped machine still anchored to the pallet.
Earlier this year, having just completed Monotype University, TBAS Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi and Tampa Press Publishing Assistant Joshua Steward visited typefounder and printer Ian Schaefer at his studio in Lititz, Pennsylvania, to rig and prepare the caster and keyboard for shipment to Tampa.
Tampa Press Publishing Assistant Joshua Steward
and printer, typecaster Ian Schaefer wrap the caster
with pallet wrap.

Carl and Josh used 2x6-inch lumber to construct a custom pallet that fit around the narrow base of the caster, giving it a wider footprint for stability during transport. Steel eyebolts were driven into the boards, and ratchet tie-down straps and heavy cord were threaded through the base and back through the machine to anchor it to the base. The caster was then covered with a blanket, wrapped in heavy tarps, and sealed with layers of pallet-wrap to weatherize it for travel and storage on its journey south.

Shaking hands over the fully-wrapped caster, now ready to be shipped.
Dave Seat of Hot Metal Services in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, was picking up some equipment in the Pennsylvania area, and we were able to arrange to hitch a ride, first from Pennsylvania to HMS in Tennessee, where our Monotype was happy to hang out until one of Dave’s service trips could bring it further South to Tampa, where we welcomed to its new home in the Book Arts Studio.
     Accompanying the machine was a curious but necessary supporting cast of many replacement parts, molds, and matrices that had to be sorted, cleaned, cataloged, and stored. Carl undertook this task and made a place in the studio for each piece and part. Once this was done and the parts cleared away, the unwrapping of the machine could begin, one layer at a time.
Left: TBAS Director Richard Mathews begins cutting through the many layers of pallet wrap.
Right: Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi releases the cords anchoring and protecting the machine.

After the unpacking, the space where the caster was going to be settled needed to be made—fitting neatly in the Studio between the Intertype and the “Orphan Annie” Monotype Caster—though, this required the Intertype to be moved a few feet to the left, while the “Orphan Annie” needed to be moved a few feet to the right:

Once this was done, the Monotype Composition Caster was coaxed into its permanent place in the Studio and lowered to the floor:


 – Thanks to Ian Schaefer and Dave Seat –
For their hard work, diligence, and for the knowledge they’ve been so willing to share.